« הקודםהמשך »
kingdom of heaven, that a belief of the report of it, as in the word, must render all other interests worthless, as but mere dross and dung. This truth is at war with the world, as also the world is enmity to it. The man whose mind is fixed upon this good, cannot love the world and the things which are in the world; its riches, and honours, and pleasures, are made to him tasteless, and even disgusting; and, like phantoms, sink out of his sight. Hence, the word of the kingdom is victorious over the world. This
, and this only, possesses strength to bear down its flattering temptations, and to raise the mind above its pollutions; as in 1 John v. 4, 5. “ For « whosoever is born of God overcometh the “ world: and this is the victory that evercometh “ the world, even our faith. Who is he that 0
vercometh the world, but he that believeth “ that Jesus is the Son of God ?”
The world is composed of two distinct parts, which may be termed mental and physical. The effects of the word, in its present dispensation, are principally in the mind; and the kingdom, or regeneration, has not as yet gained a possession in the world beyond the limits of the intellectual part, or the believing mind; hence the kingdom, in the present state, is imperfect. Believers are now, indeed, under the full cognition of the King of Heaven; the Lord knoncth them that are his; but avhen that which is perfect is come, then shall they know even as also they are knonn. The physical state of the world'is as really within the reach of the power of the word, when dispensed thereunto, as the mental. A complete specimen of this has already been given. The winds and the seas obeyed the Lord Jesus; he walked upon the waters, and by his word he multiplied the bread, and cured all manner of diseases. The power by which our Lord and his disciples pro
duced these outward effects, was the same by which like wonders have been wrought in the mind; as “the pulling down of strong holds, cast
ing down imaginations, and every high thing “ that exalteth itself against the knowledge of “God, and bringing into captivity every thought “ to the obedience of Christ.”....... The power by which Paul wrought miracles, was called “the “ doctrine of the Lord.” Acts xiii. 12. It was the word of the kingdom. The same authority to which believers are obedient, is in “ readiness to
revenge all disobedience.” 2 Cor. x. 6. As the first heavens and earth existed by the word of God, and were bound under its decree; and as the heavens and earth which are now, by the same “ word are kept in store, reserved unto fire a
gainst the day of judgment and perdition of
ungodly men;" in like manner, pursuant to the promise, or word of the kingdom, we “look * for new heavens and a new earth.” Tlie regeneration and adoption of the spirits of believers, by the word of God, are but the first fruits, and sure earnest of the harvest of life and glory, which is yet to follow from this immortal seed. “ The “ creature itself also shall be delivered from the “bondage of corruption into the glorious li“berty of the sons of God. For we know that “ the whole creation groaneth and travelleth in
pain together. until now: And not only they, " but ourselves also, which have the FIRST FRUITS “ of the Spirit, even weourselvesgroan within our“selves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the RE“ DEMPTION of our body.” Rom. viii. 21..... 23...... That this outward effect of the redemption of the hodly, will be produced by the word of Christ, the same as that of the renewal of the mind, appears from Jolin v. 25.... 29. “ Verily, verily I say un“ to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when “ the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God:
** and they that hear shall live ....... Marvel pot at “this: for the hour is coming, in the which all “ that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and “ shall come forth.” As far as the word is administered with eflect, the same as the law of civil states, so far, and no farther, extend the bounds of the kingdom.
In the present state, by his word, which is the rod of his strength, the Lord rules in the midst of his enemies. This he will continue to send out of Zion, until his enemies, one by one, to the last of them, be conquered; when will commence his triumphant reign over them........ This law of the Lord, this law concerning the Lord, i. e. that Jesus Christ is Lord; like the sun in the firmament, is set on a journey, to travel through all the universe; it is now running the course of the inental or spiritual zodiac, converting the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, and enlightening the eyes: and soon, very soon, it will enter the physical world, of which many solemn indications have already been given, when its circuit will be finished, and nothing will be hid from the keat thereof.
SECTION II...... Temptations.
A pennyless man may not fear being robbed; it is the bearer of some precious treasure who is the object of the lurking foe, and who must be ever upon his guard; and in proportion to the richness of his property, his perils are increased. Wherefore it may be observed, that the warning voice of wisdom is not so much directed to them who are in a state of natural darkness, as it is to
then who have been partakers of the blessing of the gospel. The word
of the kingdom is the most precious of all treasures; it is the pearl of great price; it possesses all the value of the kingdom itself, the kingdom of heaven; and cannot be preserved but by the greatest possible precaution, vigilance and heroism. Hence the recipients of the word are addressed continually in language like this: “That which ye have alrea
dy, holdfast till I come.” Rev. ii. 25. “Hold " that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy “ crown.” Rov. iii. 11. “Therefore we ought “ to give the more earnest heed to the things “ which we have heard, lest at any time we “şhould let them slip.” Heb. ii. 1. They who receive the word, under the gospel dispensation, are thereby crowned, and made kings and priests unto God and the Lamb; and the history of all times has shewn that crowns are slippery things; and that of all men, none are so much exposed to fatal disasters, as crowned heads.
When God had called Israel out of Egypt, under the gospel characteristic name, my son, Hosea xi. 1, then, and not till then, opened that solemn scene called, emphatacally, the day of temptation. And when Jesus was publically announced to be the Son of God, and therefore the heir of David, and king of Israel, he was immediately led up of the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. And, without an erception, a similar course of events in providence, and like scenes of peculiar temptation, have ever opened to all them who have been the subjects of this high vocation.
The reason is obvious; for as gold, &c, must be tested in order to ascertain its real value, and that it might be known to possess a peculiar quality of intrinsic worth; so the word of the Lord is tried. Psal. xii. 6. And they who receive
the word, and therefore go under the same denomination, must be proved, Psal. Ixvi. 10, that this holy character might be clearly distinguished, separated and set off, from every thing of a different name and nature. This can be done only as it is delineated and drawn out in a course of filial obedience, under circumstances, the most peculiarly discriminating and convincing.
A full view of these temptations is given in the life and suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ, who
was in all points tempted like as we are, with“ out sin.” Heb. iv. 15. And it may be observed respecting these temptations, from first to last, that they relate to the word of the kingdom, the truth that Jesus is the Son of God, the King of Israel. John i. 49. In opposition to this truth, and in order to wrest the infinite treasure contained in it from the possessor, all the arts of stealth, and all the arts of war; all the subtilty, and all the force of earth and hell; have been rigorously employed; and, generally, the trial takes place in regard to the following grounds, viz.
1. That the word of faith is to be held as our life, or as the first requisite for the preservation of the life of man.
Esau, tried upon this ground, gave up the word of promise, or his title to the kingdom, which he held under the name of first-born, saying, “ I am at the point to die, and what profit “ shall this birth-right do me." This ground was prominent in the trials of the wilderness... The children of Israel were there caused to hunger and thirst, for the just shall live by faith. And though they were slow of heart to believe, yet the truth was fully and experimentally proved to them, when, after the lapse of forty years, and after all their wearing and wasting journeys, their clothes had not waxen old upon them, nor even their shoes upon their feet; and without bay